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Al Muhairi Lands First UAE Trainer`s Championship at Closing Jebel Ali Meeting

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

The 2014/2015 domestic season began at Jebel Ali at the end of October and finished at the same venue on Friday afternoon with HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum crowned Champion Owner, Richard Mullen Champion Jockey and Musabah Al Muhairi Champion Trainer.

Al Muhairi sealed his first championship in style, combining with stable jockey, Silvestre De Sousa to land the featured 1800m conditions contest with course specialist Interpret.

Winner of the 2014 Jebel Ali Stakes (1950m) the enigmatic Interpret was on his best behaviour on this occasion and was always prominent. When leader Mufarrh failed to handle the bend, Interpret was left in front and ran on strongly to record a fourth Jebel Ali victory and second over this 1800m trip.

Pit Stop finished well under Oisin Murphy but De Sousa’s mount was always holding on.

“He definitely saves his best for Jebel Ali,” said De Sousa. “He broke very well today and I was always travelling nicely which is not always the case with this fellow.

“I was pretty confident throughout the home straight and it is great to help the boss be confirmed Champion Trainer."

The trainer was soon back in the winner’s enclosure, saddling Rafeej to win a 1200m conditions race with Paul Hanagan riding for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The pair proved far too good for eight rivals, impressing in the process.

“He is a horse we have always really liked,” said Al Muhairi. “This is actually his first start here at Jebel Ali and he has handled it very well.

“It has been a great season and I am delighted to win the title after several seconds in recent years.”

The only handicap on the six race card, the opener over 1950m, provided the perfect opportunity for Insaany to open his local account at the second attempt. He made all under Hanagan, riding for Sheikh Hamdan and trainer Doug Watson.

“We stepped him up from 1600m, thinking the extra distance would suit him,” said Watson. “Paul has given him a great ride and he will hopefully be a nice horse for us next season.”

At that point this success took Watson to within two of Al Muhairi in the trainers’ championship.

It appeared the same connections were going to register a rapid double when their Etijaah threw down a determined challenge in the first 1800m conditions race, but he had no answer to Ormindo who swept clear about 200m out.

De Sousa, initiating his own double, was in the saddle for Ahmad bin Harmash.

“The trainer said he would run well and was right,” said De Sousa. “He has run on strongly and it was a decent performance.”

Mullen, winning the jockeys’ race outright for the first time (he rode the same number of winners as Ted Durcan in the 2003/2004 season only for the latter to be declared champion on ‘countback’ – having ridden more seconds), produced Al Razi to lead in the dying strides in a 1400m conditions race.

The winner is trained by Satish Seemar, for whom Mullen is stable jockey.

“It has been a wonderful season and our horses have been in great form throughout,” said Mullen. “Obviously I am delighted to be Champion Jockey but without Satish and his team I would not be in this position.

“It is a real team effort at Zabeel Stables and this is a great reward.”

The Salem Al Ketbi-trained Brazen was always to the fore in the concluding conditions race, over 1200m, under Tadhg O’Shea – unable to record a fourth consecutive jockeys’ title.

The only fixture remaining in the UAE this season is next Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting, the world’s richest night of horse racing featuring the $10million Dubai World Cup.